P&O Cruises new ship Britannia will help agents to understand the future of the brand and what makes it different from other cruise lines, according to Carnival UK chief executive David Dingle (pictured).

Last night the cruise line revealed its five food heroes – Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, Olly Smith, Eric Lanlard and James Martin – during an event in London’s Fish Island.

Dingle said the ship was representing contemporary Britain like no other vessel had done in the past.

He said: “Travel agents have told us they like the fact that this is the first time that we as P&O have been very open about who we are.

“We have come out of ourselves and we have said what we are. But we are giving agents the knowledge and a way they can differentiate us from other lines. There is nothing a travel agent likes better than being able to discriminate between the various brands.”

He said the new ship, currently under construction in Italy, would reflect the “tastes of modern Britain” and would be relevant to the British audience by offering things they already know, alongside things they aspire to experience.

He said: “I look back over my history of building ships 20 years to the Oriana, which was the one ship which transformed the British cruise industry because it was completely for the British market for the first time.

“But back then, the way we thought about cruising, we were retrospective and we would look back on what makes Britain great. But Britain has moved on so much in the last few years. The best of British is what we do now, not in the past.

“This will offer modern British dining and modern British hospitality. Britannia is showing leadership in where we are taking the brand.”

TV chef James Martin is set to develop the first cookery school on a British ship, the Cookery Club, which will host classes for up to 24 people. Pastry chef Eric Lanlard has created a range of sweet treats for the Market Cafe in the ship’s atrium.

Christopher Edgington, marketing director at P&O Cruises, said: “These are exciting innovations and the great thing is that some of these ideas have been created internally by our staff in Southampton.

“We will offer the best of the best on Britannia. People will know it is a P&O Cruises ship when they get on board. The ship is inspired by our past and designed for the future.”

He said he was excited by what the ‘food heroes’ would bring to the ship, and added that food was a very important part of P&O’s history.

Another new addition to the ship will be an extra entertainment option, with performers randomly appearing in different areas of the ship. Edgington said there would be nine entertainment venues, not including the spontaneous pop-up entertainers.

The ship will also have a dedicated children’s club for two to 17-year-olds, and an area for teens.

The Limelight Club will act as a dining option and entertainment venue. Dingle said the the club would offer a very high standard of performer as part of the paid-for experience.

The 1,837-cabin ship will also feature an Oasis Spa and open deck Retreat, four swimming pools, an art collection worth more than £1 million, a dedicated wedding venue, and an area for guest speakers, talks and demonstrations called The Studio.

Pre-registration opens today, with general sale starting on March 27.